It’s been two weeks since President Trump announced on Twitter that he’d be banning transgender service in the military, and though there’s still no actual policy in effect, Trump is standing by the decision.
Speaking to the press Thursday, Trump claimed to have “great respect” for the transgender community and boasted that many transgender people had voted for him. “It’s been a very difficult situation and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it,” Trump said. “As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military — it’s been a very confusing issue for the military — and I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”
The Pentagon announced in June of 2016 that it would be immediately lifting the ban for transgender servicemembers who were already serving and that recruitment of new trans servicemembers would begin July 1 of this year. At that time, studies had already been completed and a detailed plan laid out for implementation of the new policy. There was no confusion.
Mere days before July 1, Defense Secretary James Mattis agreed to a six-month delay for further review before implementation. The Army and Marine Corps had reportedly requested a two-year delay, while the Navy had said it was ready to implement an acceptance policy. Mattis clarified at the time that the delay “in no way presupposes the outcome of the review.”
Meanwhile, thousands of transgender servicemembers have been openly serving for over a year, and there has been no disruption to military readiness or unit cohesion. Indeed, the only disruption that remains is the uncertainty as to whether they’ll have their jobs a week from now.